Creating Meat Substitutes with Mushrooms

Gourmet mushrooms are great for meatless meals! Their textures are decidedly “meaty,” and their umami flavor is reminiscent of animal proteins like beef and chicken. They are also more environmentally friendly to produce than animal products. Here’s how to transform some of R&R Cultivation’s most popular gourmet mushroom varieties into a convincing meat substitute.  

Using Mushrooms Instead of Ground Beef

You can easily turn gourmet mushrooms into a believable ground beef substitute. We recommend using a variety with a strong umami flavor, such as shiitakes. After chopping up the mushrooms, you can use them in all your favorite recipes! You may have to experiment with the amount of dry ingredients and binders (such as eggs or flax eggs) you use to replicate the texture of the meat, but the end result is sure to be delicious and realistic.

If you’re just trying to cut back on your meat consumption, try throwing some mushrooms into a food processor and processing them until they’re a medium-fine texture. Replace half the ground beef in your burgers or meatballs with the processed mushrooms and enjoy your juicy, flavorful lower-in-fat meal!

Chicken Substitutes Using Mushrooms

Since chicken has a mild flavor, it’s not difficult to create a convincing dupe using oyster mushrooms and other shreddable varieties. By tearing these mushrooms apart by hand, you’ll end up with pieces that perfectly replicate poultry’s texture when cooked. From there, the possibilities are endless: add a sauce to create a vegetarian pulled chicken (or pork), or batter and fry the mushrooms for a low fat fried “chicken.” These oyster mushroom taquitos are a great recipe for first timers who want to give mushroom meat substitutes a try. 

Creating Vegetarian Seafood with Gourmet Mushrooms

Mushrooms with lighter flavors are perfect for duplicating the profile of delicate fish and other seafood. For example, Lion’s Mane mushrooms are a great option for replicating meatier shellfish like lobster or crab. These crab cakes are made with Lion’s Mane, whose delicate flavor is cranked up a notch with the addition of some Old Bay seasoning. Some home chefs also include nori and other seaweeds in their mushroom dishes when they want to add a little ocean flavor. 

For Friday night “fish fry,” consider golden oyster mushrooms. Their color and texture create a delicious, tender white fish substitute. Simply break them into clusters, batter, and fry! All that’s missing is some homemade tartar sauce

When it comes to gourmet mushrooms, your culinary options are endless. Whether you’re trying to create a believable meat substitute with mushrooms or simply want a delicious vegetarian source of protein, R&R Cultivation has you covered. Check out our organic, gourmet mushroom varieties at local farmer’s markets, co-ops, and Lunds and Byerlys throughout the Twin Cities. 

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